BRIEF-SM Energy prices upsized $150 mln public offering of senior convertible notes due 2021

Aug 9 SM Energy Co* SM Energy prices upsized $150,000,000 public offering of senior convertible notes due 2021* Offering was upsized from previously announced offering of $100 million aggregate principal amount of notes * Notes will bear interest at a rate of 1.50% per annum * Priced an upsized offering of $150 million aggregate principal amount of its 1.50% senior unsecured convertible notes due 2021 * Notes will be issued at par Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage: Read more

U.S. slavery reparations sought in first Black Lives Matter agenda

SEATTLE A coalition affiliated with the anti-racism Black Lives Matter movement called for criminal justice reforms and reparations for slavery in the United States among other demands in its first policy platform released on Monday.The six demands and roughly 40 policy recommendations touch on topics ranging from reducing U.S. military spending to safe drinking water. The groups aim to halt the "increasingly visible violence against Black communities," the Movement for Black Lives said in a statement. The agenda was released days before the second anniversary of the slaying of unarmed black teen Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown's death, along with other fatal police shootings of unarmed black men over the past two years, fueled a national debate about racial discrimination in the U.S. criminal justice system.Issues related to race and violence took center stage at the Democratic National Convention last week, though the coalition did not endorse the party's platform or White House candidate, Hillary Clinton."We seek radical transformation, not reactionary reform," Michaela Brown, a spokeswoman for Baltimore Bloc, one of the organizations that worked on the platform, said in a statement. "As the 2016 election continues, this platform provides us with a way to intervene with an agenda that resists state and corporate power, an opportunity to implement policies that truly value the safety and humanity of black lives, and an overall means to hold elected leaders accountable," Brown said.Baltimore Bloc is among more than 50 organizations that developed the platform over the past year, including Black Alliance for Just Immigration, the Black Youth Project 100 and the Black Leadership Organizing Collaborative. This is the first time these black-led organizations linked to the decentralized Black Lives Matter movement have banded together to write a comprehensive foundational policy platform.The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization, was not listed among them.The agenda calls for an end to the death penalty, decriminalization of drug-related offenses and prostitution, and the "demilitarization" of police departments. It seeks reparations for lasting harms caused to African-Americans of slavery and investment in education and jobs. The Movement for Black Lives said in a statement that "neither mainstream political party has our interests at heart.""By every metric – from the hue of its prison population to its investment choices – the U.S. is a country that does not support, protect or preserve Black life," the statement said. (Reporting By Dave Gregorio) Read more

Verizon to buy Yahoo's core business for $4.8 billion in digital ad push

NEW YORK Verizon Communications Inc said on Monday it would buy Yahoo Inc's core internet properties for $4.83 billion in cash, marking the end of the line for a storied Web pioneer and setting the stage for a big new internet push by the telecom giant.Verizon (VZ.N) will combine Yahoo's (YHOO.O) search, email and messenger assets as well as advertising technology tools with its AOL unit, which it bought last year for $4.4 billion. Verizon, the No. 1 U.S. wireless operator, has been looking to mobile video and advertising for new sources of revenue outside the oversaturated wireless market.The deal came after activist investors led by Starboard Value LP lost faith in Yahoo Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer, who was hired in 2012, and forced what became a protracted sale process.Yahoo, founded in 1994, was a dominant player in the early days of the internet, but has long lost its leadership position in internet search and advertising to Google (GOOGL.O>, Facebook (FB.O) and others.Mayer said on a conference call with investors that she planned to stay at Yahoo through the deal's close. Marni Walden, head of product innovation and new business at Verizon, will head the combined internet unit and said no decisions had yet been made on the management team.Verizon could combine data from AOL and Yahoo users in addition to its more than 100 million wireless customers to help advertisers target users based on online behavior and preferences."Yahoo gives us scale that is what is most critical here," said Walden, adding that the company's audience will go from the millions to the billions. "We want to compete and that is the place we need to be."Mayer, in an interview with Reuters, said she still saw a "path to growth" for Yahoo, especially in mobile. "What's exciting about the Verizon transaction is that it brings us back to growth sooner," she said. She said she was "open-minded" about a possible role with the combined companies. Yahoo is still one of the largest properties on the internet, with hundreds of millions of customers using its email, finance and fantasy sports offerings, among others, and a heavily trafficked home page.But Google has a stranglehold on the internet search business and built an industry-leading email service, while Facebook dominates in mobile and social media. Meanwhile, traditional web banner advertising, long Yahoo's strength, has become much less lucrative in the age of mobile and video."It's a decade of mismanagement that has finally ended for Yahoo," said Recon Analytics analyst Roger Entner. "It's the continuation of an extension of Verizon's strategy toward becoming a wireless internet player and a move away from (telecom) regulation for Verizon into an unregulated growth industry."Shares of Verizon dipped 0.4 percent to $55.88, Yahoo fell 2.6 percent to $38.37. FAR BEHIND GOOGLE, FACEBOOKThe integration of Yahoo will not come without challenges. In its latest results, it reported a second-quarter net loss of $439.9 million as it wrote down the value of Tumblr, the microblogging and social media service it acquired in 2013 for $1.1 billion.With AOL and Yahoo, Verizon would still be far behind juggernauts Google and Facebook (FB.O). According to market research firm eMarketer, Yahoo is expected to generate $2.32 billion in net U.S. digital ad sales, while AOL is expected to make $1.3 billion in 2016. Facebook and Google are forecast to deliver sales of $10.3 billion and $24.63 billion, respectively, by the end of this year, according to eMarketer. The Verizon deal would transform Yahoo into a holding company, with a 15 percent stake in Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (BABA.N) and a 35.5 percent interest in Yahoo Japan Corp (4689.T) as well as Yahoo's convertible notes, certain minority investments and its noncore patents.Yahoo executives said the remaining company is structured to "indefinitely" hold its Yahoo Japan and Alibaba stakes. They are worth about $40 billion based on their market capitalizations, while Yahoo had a market value of about $37.4 billion at Friday's close.Yahoo will continue as an independent company until the deal receives shareholder and regulatory approvals, the companies said. It is expected to close in early 2017. It plans to change its name and become a publicly traded investment company.Yahoo currently has $7.7 billion in cash, in addition to the $4.8 billion it will receive at the close of the deal, which it plans to return to shareholders, Yahoo executives said on the call.Verizon prevailed over rival bidders, including AT&T Inc (T.N); a group led by Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert and backed by billionaire Warren Buffett; private equity firm TPG Capital Management LP [TPG.UL]; and a consortium of buyout firms Vector Capital and Sycamore Partners.Under pressure from Starboard, Yahoo launched an auction of its core business in February after shelving plans to spin off its stake in Alibaba. (Additional reporting by Anya George Tharakan in Bengaluru and Deb Todd in San Francisco; Writing by Jonathan Weber; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Jeffrey Benkoe) Read more

Drivers take Uber to UK tribunal in threat to business model

LONDON Two drivers took Uber [UBER.UL] to a British employment tribunal on Tuesday, arguing that the ride service is acting unlawfully by not offering rights such as holiday and sick pay, in a test case that could force the app to change its business model.Uber, which allows users to book and pay for a taxi by smartphone, says its more than 30,000 London drivers enjoy the flexibility of being able to work when they choose and receive on average more than the minimum wage. The firm, whose investors include Goldman Sachs and Alphabet Inc unit Google, has grown rapidly around the world and is valued at $62.5 billion (47 billion pounds) but has faced protests, bans and restrictions in a number of cities.Last month, Uber agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle a lawsuit brought by drivers over background checks at the Federal Court in San Francisco, where the app is based.In London, it has fended off attempts by drivers of the city's famous black cabs to have the app ruled illegal, and transport bosses decided earlier this year not to impose tough new rules on the app. But a ruling in favor of the two drivers bringing this test case could lead to dozens more coming forward and affect the firm's reliance on the self-employed. "This claim is vital for the thousands of Uber drivers who work in England and Wales and has implications even wider than that," Annie Powell, employment lawyer at firm Leigh Day said. "We are seeing a creeping erosion of employment rights as companies misclassify their workers as self-employed so as to avoid paying them holiday pay and the national minimum wage,” she said. Drivers are also unhappy at pay being docked for customer complaints but Uber said that is rare for pay to be reduced and would only occur in rare circumstances where the route taken by the driver was deemed to be excessively long, for example. The tribunal is expected to last until the start of next week but the judge is unlikely to deliver a decision until several weeks later. (Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Giles Elgood) Read more

Dallas police chief expresses worry about armed civilians in Texas

DALLAS The Dallas police chief said on Monday that Texas state laws allowing civilians to carry firearms openly, as some did during the protest where five officers were fatally shot, presented a rising challenge to law enforcement, as he stepped into America's fierce debate over gun rights.Dallas Police Chief David Brown, during a news conference, also gave new details about his department's use of a bomb-carrying robot to kill Micah Johnson, the 25-year-old former U.S. Army reservist who carried out the sniper attack that also wounded nine other officers last Thursday.A shooting incident in Michigan on Monday underscored the prevalence of gun violence in America and the danger faced by law enforcement, even as activists protest fatal police shootings of two black men last week in Louisiana and Minnesota.Two sheriff's bailiffs were shot to death at a courthouse in St. Joseph in southwestern Michigan, and the shooter was also killed, Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey told reporters.By Monday evening, protesters were marching again in several American cities, including Chicago, Sacramento, California, and Atlanta, where local news footage showed a number of protesters being arrested after street demonstrations north of downtown. President Barack Obama and others reiterated their calls for stricter guns laws after last month's massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, but many conservatives responded that such measures could infringe on the U.S. Constitution's protection of the right to bear arms. Texas is known for its gun culture, and state laws allow gun owners to carry their weapons in public. Some gun rights activists bring firearms to rallies as a political statement. Some did that at Thursday's march in Dallas."It is increasingly challenging when people have AR-15's (a type of rifle) slung over, and shootings occur in a crowd. And they begin running, and we don’t know if they are a shooter or not," Brown said. "We don’t know who the 'good guy' versus who the 'bad guy' is, if everybody starts shooting." Seeing multiple people carrying rifles led police initially to believe they were under attack by multiple shooters.Brown did not explicitly call for gun control laws, but said: "I was asked, well, what's your opinion about guns? Well, ask the policymakers to do something and I'll give you an opinion." "Do your job. We're doing ours. We're putting our lives on the line. Other aspects of government need to step up and help us," he added.'SIMPLY MISTAKEN'Rick Briscoe, legislative director of gun rights group Open Carry Texas, said Brown was "simply mistaken" in viewing armed civilians as a problem."It is really simple to tell a good guy from a bad guy," Briscoe said. "If the police officer comes on the situation and he says: 'Police, put the gun down,' the good guy does. The bad guy probably continues doing what he was doing, or turns on the police officer." Police used a Northrop Grumman Corp (NOC.N) Mark5A-1 robot, typically deployed to inspect potential bombs, to kill Johnson, 25, after concluding during an hours-long standoff there was no safe way of taking him into custody, Brown said."They improvised this whole idea in about 15, 20 minutes," Brown said."I asked the question of how much (explosives) we were using, and I said ... 'Don't bring the building down.' But that was the extent of my guidance."The incident is believed to have been the first time U.S. police had killed a suspect that way, and some civil liberties activists said it created a troubling precedent. But Brown said that in the context of Thursday's events, "this wasn't an ethical dilemma for me."The attack came at the end of a demonstration decrying police shootings of two black men in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and near St. Paul, Minnesota. Those were the latest in a series of high-profile killings of black men by police in various U.S. cities that have triggered protests. In Dallas, a vigil was held for the slain officers on Monday evening. In Chicago, images and footage on social media and local news stations showed about 500 protesters marching through downtown after holding a quiet sit-in in Millennium Park that spilled into the streets and a rally near City Hall.In Atlanta, local media footage showed a number of handcuffed protesters being loaded onto a police bus surrounded by armed officers and emergency vehicles with lights flashing. Television station WSB-TV reported that police started arresting demonstrators marching on Peachtree Road at about 8:30 p.m.In Sacramento, about 300 people were marching peacefully on Monday evening. Earlier in the day, in an incident not linked to protests, Sacramento police said officers fatally shot a man carrying a knife after he charged at police.Johnson served with the U.S. Army Reserve from 2009 to 2015 and served for a time in Afghanistan. He had been disappointed in his experience in the military, his mother told TheBlaze.com in an interview shown online on Monday."The military was not what Micah thought it would be," Delphine Johnson said. "He was very disappointed. Very disappointed."The Dallas police chief, who is black, urged people upset about the conduct of police to consider joining his police force."Get off that protest line and put an application in, and we'll put you in your neighborhood, and we will help you resolve some of the problems you're protesting about," he added. (Additonal reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas, Fiona Ortiz and Justin Madden in Chicago, Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles, and David Beasley in Atlanta; Writing by Daniel Wallis, Scott Malone and Eric M. Johnson; Editing by Will Dunham and Peter Cooney) Read more

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